Kale Caesar Salad with Crispy Chickpeas


A classic salad gets a flavor upgrade with a quick and healthy recipe for Kale Caesar Salad with Crispy Chickpeas.

A top-down view of a white salad bowl with kale and chickpeas

It’s hard to improve a food as iconic as the Caesar salad, but may I offer a slightly leafier (and crunchier) update? Kale Caesar Salad with Crispy Chickpeas is a flavor and texture powerhouse.

I’ve swapped the Romaine hearts for nutrient-packed kale (that must be cut in a very specific way — see below) and let a quick-fix homemade Caesar salad dressing steal the spotlight, alongside those crispy chickpeas, of course!

A close-up of shredded kale salad topped with grated Parmesan cheese

How to Shred Kale

I believe that a kale salad is made truly great by the way you cut the kale leaves. Sure, you can roughly chop or even tear them, but for the perfect kale salad texture, it’s all about shredding!

A wood cutting board topped with shredded kale and small bowls surrounding it

To shred kale, first strip the leaves from the stalks, then stack four or five leaves atop one another and roll them up lengthwise. Using your sharpest knife, cut down into the roll of leaves to reveal gorgeous ribbons (This is also known as chiffonade when you use this technique for basil or other herbs).

The Best Homemade Caesar Dressing

Once you make Caesar salad dressing from scratch, you’ll never go back to the bottled, store-bought stuff again. It’s surprisingly simple to achieve the perfect balance of creaminess and saltiness. While my recipe includes anchovy paste for authenticity, if you’re against all things anchovy, simply skip it!

A glass bowl containing ingredients for homemade Caesar salad dressing

The real secret to the best homemade Caesar dressing is to whisk in grated Parmesan cheese. Not only does it amp up the flavor, but it also helps to thicken the dressing, making it the perfect consistency for coating those leafy greens.

Homemade Caesar salad dressing in a glass bowl with a whisk

How to Make Crispy Chickpeas

Serve up this salad with your protein of choice, or keep it simple with plenty of crispy chickpeas piled on top. To make crispy chickpeas from scratch, you can either bake them or air-fry them. Both cooking techniques result in the ultimate crispy, crunchy salad topping, however I’ve found that the air fryer is the fastest way to go from canned garbanzos to crispy chickpea perfection.

Check out my recipe for Crispy Chickpeas made in an air fryer or the oven!

A top-down view of kale salad in a white bowl with lemons and a small bowl of Parmesan cheese on the side

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Make the dressing:

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the Dijon mustard, lemon juice, Worcestershire, mayonnaise, minced garlic and anchovy paste until well combined. Stir in the grated Parmesan cheese and ¼ teaspoon pepper then set the dressing aside while you make the salad.

Make the salad:

  • In a large bowl, combine the kale, shaved Parmesan and croutons. Drizzle the dressing on top and toss to combine. Top with crispy chickpeas and serve.



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